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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  August 12, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST

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dive into. >> it's our news director dan rosenheim's birthday. >> see you at 6:00. thanks for watching! >> couric: tonight, a federal judge clears the way f sex marriages in california to resume next wednesday unless an appeals court intervenes. i'm katie couric. also tonight, turning the corner and a profit. g.m.'s dramatic return from bankruptcy, posting its second straight quarterly profit. a suspect in a series of stabbings that left five people dead is nabbed in atlanta trying to aboard a plane for israel. it turns out the jetblue flight attendant wasn't very popular on the plane. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world
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headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone. will the most populist state in the nation allow gays and lesbians to marry legally? an answer came today but it wasn't the one supporters were hoping for. the federal judge who struck down california's ban on same- sex marriages today gave the green light for them to resume, but not until next wednesday, and that gives a federal appeals court time to step in, if it chooses, and possibly keep the ban in place while legal challenges continue. john blackstone is in san francisco tonight. john, there were a lot of postponed nuptials today. >> reporter: well, that's true, katie. same-sex marriage in california has been on a roller coaster for years. for a while it was legal, then it was banned, and there was a lot of anticipation that today that ban would be lifted. on the steps of san francisco's city hall, there were enthusiastic cheers from a crowd of same-sex marriage supporters. for a few minutes, it appeared
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that same-sex weddings in california were about to begin immediately. the judge who last week ruled that california's ban on same- sex marriage was unconstitutional, just announced he was lifting the stay he placed on that decision. inside city hall, dozens of couples were already lining up for marriage licenses. city officials were standing by to start the ceremonies. then the rest of the judge's ruling came through. the weddings could begin again but not until next week. >> the good news is the stay is lifted, the bad news is the judge has said it's lifted next wednesday. >> oh! >> reporter: christine rhodess and kathleen cowan had spent the morning in anticipation that this could be their wedding day. so is this good news or bad news? >> it's mixed. i mean, we're so happy to hear that it's lifted and we will absolutely be back here next week, but it's... it's tough just to have our hopes so high and then dashed a little bit.
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>> reporter: the delay gives opponents of same-sex marriage time to appeal. >> i am optimistic this decision will be overruled, probably by the supreme court, if not by the american people. >> reporter: polls show a majority of americans are opposed to same-sex marriage and after 18,000 such marriages in california two years ago, the state's voters approved proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage. still, both republican governor arnold schwarzenegger and democratic attorney general jerry brown say gay couples should have the right to marry. >> this fits into the social fabric, not only with no harm, but with a lot of positive benefits. >> reporter: but many opponents believe just the opposite. >> the majority of the american people have kind of drawn a line in our sand and said this isn't true, it's not good, we don't believe in it, and we don't like it. >> reporter: but now, here in san francisco and across california, a lot of same-sex couples are starting to make wedding plans for the end of next week. katie? >> couric: and, john, the
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opponents of same-sex marriage say this is far from over. what are their plans? >> reporter: well, their next stop is the ninth circuit court of appeal. they'll try to get there in the days ahead and then failing that, failing an answer there, they're going to try to go all the way to the supreme court. a lot of wedding plans here will be depending on those courts' decisions. katie? >> couric: all right, john blackstone in san francisco. john, thanks very much. in other news, american taxpayers pulled general motors out of bankruptcy and it looks like the investment is paying off. g.m. today reported its biggest quarterly profit in six years, $1.3 billion. the company has turned the corner and is anxious now to break its ties with the government. rebecca jarvis covers business and economics for us. rebecca, this is quite a comeback for g.m. >> reporter: it is quite a comeback, katie. only 14 months after filing for bankruptcy, and $50 billion in government loans, general motors reported its second straight quarterly profit. >> this is a company of great
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people. >> reporter: the person brought in to messenger a turnaround, c.e.o. ed whitacre, told a media conference call his work here is done. >> reporter: on september 1, whitacre turns the reigns over to g.m. board member dan akerson, a wall street veteran are no auto industry experience. akerson has been preparing g.m. for a stock sale called an i.p.o., which will help pay back taxpayers for their investment in the company. even so, today's management shuffle took many by surprise. >> it's just a little disconcerting at this particular moment because we would have expected whitacre to stay through the end of the i.p.o. process. >> reporter: on the road ahead, g.m. needs to convince investors that its weakest days are in the rearview mirror. the auto maker lost $88 billion in the five years before it filed for bankruptcy last summer.
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even with its $1.3 billion quarter, g.m. still trails rival ford, which earned $2.6 billion during the same time. in its restructuring, g.m. cut four of its eight core brands and shed 13,000 jobs, but they eliminated all its debt. >> some painful cuts were made but necessary ones. >> reporter: now the view from the showroom floor is upbeat. >> this is much better. we had a rough year in the industry last year, but 2010 is responding. we're doing really well, sales are brisk. >> as soon as i found out i got my job i'm like, i'm going to need a car. >> reporter: the outgoing c.e.o. of general motors says he hopes that the rising sales in show- rooms and giving back taxpayers their dollars means that general motors can lose that nickname of "government motors." katie? >> couric: rebecca jarvis, rebecca thank you. no comeback yet for the housing industry, though. a report out today says more than 325,000 homes got foreclosure notices last month.
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that's 4% more than in june. and it amounts to one in nearly every 400 homes. now, if you're looking for the cause, kelly cobiella tells us you can skip the real estate section and go straight to the "help wanted" ads. >> reporter: nothing says desperation quite like this. >> go back outside, please. >> reporter: 30,000 people pushing and fighting just to apply for housing help outside of atlanta wednesday. the scene was calmer today. kawan banks was one of many turning in applications for subsidized housing. the mother of two has been looking for a job for eight months and can no longer afford her $850 rent. >> my job ended in december, i'm unemployed, and it's kind of hard to pay bills on unemployment. >> a lot of people are struggling right now, and they're just looking for any type of assistance they can get. >> reporter: it's not just the rental market. georgia is seeing a spike of a number of people in danger of
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losing their homes. one of every 320 homes in this state is in foreclosure. the weak job market is pushing more homeowners into default. the number of homes repossessed by banks jumped in july, up 9% from june, that's 93,000 homes. the total number of foreclosed homes is expected to go above 1 million by the end of the year. >> and the type of person we're seeing in foreclosure today is very different from a couple of years ago. a lot of blue-collar workers, a lots of middle managers who had very traditional, safe mortgages, suddenly find themselves in foreclosure simply because they don't have a paycheck any more. >> reporter: mortgage rates are at an all-time low, and that has some bargain hunters looking, but they're taking their time buying. >> every time they have a tour, i'm going to come till i find me a home that i'm happy with. >> reporter: time is on her side-- record foreclosure levels expected to last at least another year before the housing market can recover from its historic downturn. kelly cobiella, cbs news, atlanta.
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>> couric: atlanta is also where the hunt for a suspected serial killer ended late last night. today, we got our first look at the man accused in a stabbing spree across three states. 18 attacks in all since may with five people killed. elaine quijano reports the suspect is charged in one case but more charges are expected. >> reporter: authorities arrested 33-year-old elias abuelazam, an israeli national, around 10:00 last night. he was waiting to aboard a plane from atlanta to tel aviv. investigators believe abuelazam is responsible for a string of violent attacks. 14 victims in michigan, three in virginia, and one in ohio. police believe barbara embree's son was his first victim. >> 31 years old but he was still my baby. >> reporter: authorities believe the killing spree began in flint where abuelazam worked in the area as a convenience store clerk. >> i'm still shocked that i had this guy in here around me, around my sisters, around my employees.
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>> reporter: police say he lured his victims by asking for directions or for help with car trouble before stabbing them. >> they said i almost didn't make it. my heart stopped, twice. >> reporter: last week, abuelazam was briefly taken into police custody in arlington, virginia, when a background check during a traffic stop revealed an outstanding warrant for his arrest. a knife and hammer were found in his car, but no connection was made, and he was released on bail. >> you have to understand, at that point in time, nobody knew that this was the individual. >> reporter: there would be at least two more attacks in virginia and one in ohio. the victims, all minorities, survived. >> he selected the victims in liesburg based upon the color of their skin. >> reporter: authorities say they have no conclusive evidence of that. the manhunt is over, but the search for a motive is just beginning. elaine quijano, cbs news, new york. >> couric: in chicago, a federal jury has been deliberating for nearly two weeks in the corruption trial of rod
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blagojevich, the former governor of illinois, but tonight there are serious doubts about whether it can reach verdicts on those counts. cynthia bowers is in chicago tonight. cynthia, i know some experts think this signals big trouble for the prosecution. >> reporter: definitely good news for the defense, katie. when jurors came to court and said we can only decide on two of the 24 counts right now. we're deadlocked on others and have yet to even take a vote on wire fraud charges. meantime, fans and curiosity seekers have been out in full force, eager to be part of the circus that has surrounded the former governor since his arrest in december 2008. he seems to enjoy the attention, often playing to the crowd. now, as you mentioned, court watchers say the only thing that has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt so far is that the government did not present a strong case. the charges may have been too complicated, and despite hours of audio recordings of blagojevich's conversations, there is no real smoking gun.
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the judge sent the jury back to work but told them they don't have to reach a unanimous decision on every count. their deliberations will resume on monday. katie? >> couric: all right, to be continued. cynthia, thank you very much from chicago. elsewhere in the midwest, rain is in the forecast for iowa tomorrow. unwelcomed news in a state still water logged from flooding along the des moines and skunk rivers. a 16-year-old girl was swept away and died yesterday. in ames, residents could be forced to drink bottled water for a week, after floods led to a series of water main breaks. still ahead here on the "cbs evening news," he's been idolized by working stiffs everywhere, but today that jetblue flight attendant's story hit a bit of turbulence. but up next, mexico's drug war. the cartels now have a new target-- journalists. =d
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>> couric: in washington >> couric: in washington today, the senate did something for only the second time in 40 years-- interrupted its august recess. it did so to approve a $600 million border security bill. the money will go toward hiring 1500 more border patrol agents and deploying more unmanned surveillance planes along the mexican border. president obama is expected to sign the bill tomorrow. meanwhile, in mexico, as we've
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been showing you for months, drug violence is out of control. today, president felipe calderon suggested prosecutors and judges are not doing enough to bring criminals to justice. but calderon himself has come under criticism. since he declared war on the cartels back in 2006, 28,000 people have died, more than 7,000 this year alone. and the violence has now taken a new turn from juarez, mexico, here's barry peterson. >> reporter: it's not hard to find a lead story in juarez on this day, five people gunned down. now journalists are the new targets. a juarez cameraman barely escaped this grenade attack. his boss has a new job description. >> preserve the lives of the people who are out there reporting and covering stories. we don't want to be heroes. >> reporter: those involved in news coverage have a saying that's also a warning, that journalists stay alive in this
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city, sometimes because of what they don't report. >> it's just that you have to censor yourself in a way that you're not going to get into trouble. >> reporter: journalists are being killed in increasing numbers, almost a dozen this year. four were kidnapped until their tv outlet broadcast a message by one of cartels, leaving many angry about stories now being hushed by terrified reporters. it's the latest effect of the four-year anti-drug war. before the drug war started, americans were advised to avoid border areas. now americans are being warned away from all of mexico, especially the northern third of the country. leaving some fearing that mexico is spinning out of control. but others say the violence could also mean the cartels are running scared. >> we're seeing the cartels for the first time fearing the government, fearing that the rule of law in mexico. >> reporter: it's a war fought
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with american weapons from the american market. 80% of the 75,000 guns seized in the last three years came from the u.s. fighting over a $40 billion business, virtually all for the u.s. that $40 billion is nearly as much revenue as pepsi collected last year. in juarez, some murders are just horrific mistakes-- marcos and jose were at a party for the double-a baseball team. gunmen thought the party was for a cartel gang, also known as "double a," and massacred 13, mostly teenagers. luz maria davila told us, "i still hope for justice." but juarez is seeing escalation. the first use of a car bomb hitting paramedics trying to save a life. paramedic nancy paz mares was hit by shrapnel. "the person who did this" she
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says, "has no heart." paramedic philip caldera has dizziness from head injuries, he called it an attack like 9/11. juarez has become the murder capital of the world-- 2,600 dead last year, and the death toll could be higher this year, on track to a staggering 3,000. many mexicans feel that their country is in the midst of chaos that could break it apart, all so americans can get their fix. barry peterson, cbs news, juarez, mexico. exico.
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>> couric: h >> couric: here in new york city, you wouldn't exactly call most people trusting, but mary harris isn't most people. the new york post reports harris was approached this week by a homeless man who asked for some cash. harris didn't have any, so what did she do-- she lent him her platinum american express card and waited--10 minutes later the man returned. he had bought a soft drink and cigarettes, just like he promised and gave her back the card along with a hug for her kindness. of course you cannot trust everyone--the office manager at a title company outside philadelphia recently admitted she stole nearly a half million dollars from her boss. the theft helped drive the company out of business, and today lanet sansony was sentenced to 21 years of house arrest. it's believed to be a record. she can only leave home to go to
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work until all the money is paid back. and comic strip "cathy" has been coming into homes across america in more than three decades now. in that time readers followed and some identified with cathy's struggles with the four basic guilt groups-- food, love, mom, and work. now the strip's creator says her work is done. the last "cathy" will appear october 3. call it the final "ack." coming up next, fasten your seat belts-- some of the passengers are challenging that jetblue flight attendant's version of events.
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complaints about what this supposed "fix' would do... next on cbs 5 >> couric: and >> couric: and finally tonight, in this long, hot summer with so much bad news, steven slater came along this week and gave people something else to talk about. the jetblue flight attendant became an unlikely folk hero. but as michelle miller tells us, wait a minute. >> what happened on the plane, steven? >> reporter: since monday, steven slater has been riding a
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wave of praise as a working man's hero pushed to his limit. >> thank you all so much. it's been amazing, the support. >> reporter: but now passengers are challenging his account, saying he was repeatedly rude and unprofessional. >> not a hello, not a smile, nothing. >> reporter: howard deneroff, a radio host in new york, claims slater was testy. >> he reached over, hit the button himself, and smacked the back of the seat to pull it up but it didn't go anywhere, as i had told him, it was already up. >> reporter: loren wood told our affiliate kdka by phone she felt mistreated. >> he literally just walked away from me. he was so rude the entire flight and a lot of other passengers that i spoke to said the same thing. >> reporter: slater claims his forehead was knicked by a passenger either closing a door or moving her luggage. several on aboard saw the injury but none who have spoken saw how it happened. >> honestly, when i first saw it i thought he had just cut his head and was on his way to the bathroom into watch it and band- aid and he didn't and i thought that's weird. something's not totally right here. >> reporter: in fact, law enforcement officials tell cbs news, they've interviewed 70% of the passengers on aboard, and
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they have yet to corroborate any of slater's story. marjorie briskin told the "wall street journal" she did see a nasty exchange between slater and a passenger after the plane landed, but she said slater was to blame and the first to use profanity. today, slater's attorney declined to address passengers' claims directly. >> i can't answer for the intent or minds of those people you spoke to. >> reporter: despite it all, the guy who famously quit his job now says he wants it back. michelle miller, cbs news, new york. >> couric: and that is the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. thank you for watching. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
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as anyone's." gay couples can't get married just yet. when they could it shows that our relationships are as valid as anyone's. >> gay couples can't get married just yet. when they could start tying the knot and why it's only a maybe. pension problems. how an idea meant to ease the budget drain could actually cause more loopholes. let's face facts, this is a tough race. >> republicans gaining ground. the results of our exclusive cbs 5 poll. good evening, i'm juliette goodrich. >> i'm dana king. the news starts now. your realtime captioner is linda marie macdonald. caption colorado, l.l.c. it's a decision that oems the


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